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Whew! Cities, Counties Relieved as Feds Pay Their Taxes (Late)

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Whew! Cities, Counties Relieved as Feds Pay Their Taxes (Late)

AP

Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 18, 2010. (AP)

Folks in Washington love to call California a deadbeat. We don't hear as much when the shoe is on the other foot.

So here's a little-noticed story: this week, the federal government finally made good on money it owed more than 1,800 California local governments. Since the feds own nearly half the land in the U.S., they are required to make payments -- in lieu of regular taxes -- as local landlords. Most of the land is in the state's deserts, mountains and interior.

The money was due in early June. But the U.S. Department of Interior -- yes the same federal department that has done such a terrific job in the Gulf of Mexico -- had informed cash-strapped counties and cities that checks wouldnt be cut til mid-July.

Local governments lost their marbles and called their Congressmen, who went hard after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The checks, according to this report in PublicCEO.com, are now, as of Tuesday, in the mail.

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